Czech news in brief for December 1: Friday's top headlines

Czech leaders pay tribute to Kissinger, snowy days ahead for Czechia, and doctors' overtime resignation takes effect from today. Staff ČTK

Written by StaffČTK Published on 01.12.2023 09:01:00 (updated on 01.12.2023) Reading time: 6 minutes

society Czechs most often get news from TV, followed by web

Recent findings from the Czech Digital Age with a Human Face project highlight a decline in Czechs relying on print media to get the latest information on current affairs, with only 7 percent reading newspapers daily. Instead, 45 percent of people opt for television to get their news and 44 percent turn to internet-based news. 

Most people (70 percent) haven't read print media in a month. Younger generations also show relatively low interest in television; only 15 percent of 15-24-year-olds watch it daily. Radio usage also varies: 8 percent of young adults use it daily compared to 35 percent of those aged 75 years and older. 

ENERGY Fiala agrees with COP28 pledge to boost nuclear capacities

Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala today announced support for a declaration at the COP28 climate conference to triple global nuclear capacity by 2050. This has also been endorsed by 21 nations including France, the U.S., and the UK. Emphasizing a balanced approach to greenhouse gas reduction without compromising competitiveness, Fiala stressed increasing nuclear and renewable energy. 

The Czech Republic aims for nuclear power to contribute half of its output by 2050. Fiala highlighted the importance of ensuring top-tier safety and quality for new nuclear plants and outlined plans for their efficient financing in collaboration with other nations.

POLITICS Pavel to speak at Schwarzenberg funeral

Czech President Petr Pavel has announced this afternoon that he will deliver a eulogy at the funeral of the late Czech politician and former Foreign Affairs Minister Karel Schwarzenberg, a prominent figure who passed away aged 85 in Vienna. The ceremony, set for Dec. 9 at St. Vitus Cathedral, will be exclusive to invited guests due to space constraints. Public access to parts of the cathedral grounds will be available with a large screen airing the proceedings. 

The coffin will bear the Schwarzenberg flag and prestigious orders, with the Czechoslovak anthem played as per Schwarzenberg's wish. Archbishop Jan Graubner will lead the mass, joined by notable bishops. Long-time associates will present offerings, while readings and intercessions will be conducted by close relatives and dignitaries.

legal Coverage of compulsory liability could extend to more vehicles

Compulsory liability coverage may be extended to include additional types of vehicles such as electric scooters, segways, snowmobiles, and motorized golf carts. A proposed amendment also increases the minimum limits of insurance coverage in the event of injury to health, death, or property damage from the current CZK 35 million to 50 million.

The law still needs approval by the Senate and a signature from the president before entering into force on the first day of the second calendar month following its publication in the collection.

economy Czech economy continues decline in Q3

The Czech economy experienced a year-on-year decline of 0.7 percent in the third quarter, marking the third consecutive decline. The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was 0.5 percent lower than the previous quarter. The decline was primarily influenced by lower household final consumption expenditure and a decrease in inventories.

However, government institutions' expenditure on final consumption, the formation of gross fixed capital, and foreign demand had a positive effect. Analysts agree that the Czech economy will experience a decline for the entire year. They also predict a reduced economic recovery the following year due to weakening foreign demand.

people Schwarzenberg's closed coffin on display from Dec. 6 to 8

The coffin of former Czech head of diplomacy, MP, and senator Karel Schwarzenberg will lie in state at the Church of the Knights of Malta in Prague from Dec. 6 to 8. A guard of honor will be held at the closed coffin, and then the remains will be taken to St. Vitus Cathedral for burial on Dec. 9.

Schwarzenberg's family has been connected to the Catholic Sovereign Military Order of Malta since 1650, and donations in lieu of flowers can be made for charitable activities. Schwarzenberg died at the age of 85 on Nov. 12.

In memoriam Czech leaders and diplomats pay tribute to Kissinger

Henry Kissinger, former U.S. Secretary of State and security adviser, passed away at 100 on Thursday at his home in Connecticut. Numerous Czech leaders and diplomats took to social media to honor Kissinger, including Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala who hailed Kissinger's realistic approach, noting his influence on diplomats and analysts globally. Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský acknowledged Kissinger's significant contribution to shaping world diplomacy.

Kissinger, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, maintained an active interest in Czech affairs, expressing support for their European involvement. Former Czech ambassadors lauded Kissinger as a global thinker and a role model for diplomats. Petr Gandalovic emphasized Kissinger's commitment to shaping U.S. foreign policy, acknowledging his pivotal role in historic agreements. Alexandr Vondra, ambassador to the U.S. from 1997 to 2001 said Kissinger supported NATO enlargement, even when there were numerous arguments against it. Kissinger's history legacy, however, remains a complicated one, and for some is marred by his involvement in Vietnam and Cambodia.

Healthcare Doctors' voluntary overtime resignations take effect today

Over 6,000 Czech doctors' voluntary overtime resignations took effect today, aiming to support their demands for labor code changes and increased wages. However, the extent of the impact on hospital operations remains uncertain. Vice-president of the Czech Medical Chamber, Jan Přáda, urged doctors to ensure patient care following the representatives' agreement with Prime Minister Petr Fiala.

Hospital operations may face restrictions over the weekend and early next week. Fiala offered CZK 9.8 billion crowns from next year to address wage concerns, pending a written agreement. The protest's definitive withdrawal is expected at the beginning of next week.

Capital Prague overturns night entry ban

The Prague Municipality has revoked the night entry ban into the Old Town following procedural irregularities, ruling that the measure lacked proper justification and the traffic signs were not legally enforced. Installed last week by Prague 1 to curb noise disturbances, the ban faced criticism from the municipality, initiating a review procedure.

Although the decision becomes legally binding in 15 days, Prague 1 councilor Vojtěch Ryvola plans to propose new measures to address residents' complaints while acknowledging the initial missteps. The ban aimed at curbing late-night disturbances by drivers around Dlouhá Street.

Weather Heavy snowfall to continue in Czechia through the weekend

Meteorologists from the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute have issued a warning as the meteorological winter kicks off with freezing temperatures and heavy snowfall. Approximately 35 cm of new snow is expected, especially in the south and east regions, by Saturday evening.

Temperatures range from -1 to -5 °C in the morning, with daytime temperatures around -2 to 2 °C. Snowfall, starting in the south, will intensify throughout the day, causing concerns, especially in southern Bohemia, where up to 10 cm of heavy, wet snow is predicted.

politics ANO maintains lead in Czech Electoral polls by a wide margin

According to the October electoral model by the Median agency, the Czech opposition ANO movement would secure victory in the lower house elections with 35 percent of the vote, a slight increase from the September poll. The Civic Democratic Party (ODS) follows with 13.5 percent, and the anti-EU Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD) ranks third with 10.5 percent.

The Pirates lost ground with a 2.5 percent drop, receiving 9 percent. Parties of the former PirSTAN coalition (Pirates, STAN) experienced setbacks, while the parliamentary opposition parties (ANO, SPD) continued to strengthen. The Social Democrats and Christian Democrats remained below the 5 percent threshold.

Culture Groundbreaking ballet performance debuts at National Theatre today

The National Theatre Ballet, in collaboration with the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra, debuts the groundbreaking Holo Harmonies today, intertwining ballet and technology. This triple premiere features a new choreography by Mauro Bigonzetti for the National Theatre Ballet, an electronic soundtrack by Sven Helbig performed by the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra, and animations by Moritz Mayerhofer, adding a cinematic element to holographic projections.

With performances simultaneously held in Prague and Baden-Baden, connected through holograms, Holo Harmonies pushes artistic and technological boundaries. The project, four years in the making, showcases meticulous 3D-scanned auditoriums, offering a unique experience for audiences at both locations.

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